Honoring Victor Strano: Villanova Class of ‘61

At a school where basketball is so beloved, Villanova has many passionate fans. Some fans, however, stand out among the rest. In this week’s issue, we honor one of the all-time great Villanova basketball fans, Victor Strano. Strano was a 1961 graduate from Villanova and a member of the Villanovan sports staff. He was a lifelong Villanova fan who frequently attended games. Strano passed away last month at the age of 81. The article below, detailing Strano’s fandom, was written by Tom Troy and originally published in the February 17th, 1960 edition of the Villanovan. 

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A few weeks ago, Chris Connor was scheduled to make it on the vocal over at the Red Hill, so I decided to cross the stream and see what was happening. Chris didn’t swing, but the evening wasn’t too bad, for I ran into Victor Strano, and he swung – on basketball. 

You know Victor – he’s the little guy with the short black hair, wears glasses, always looks a little worried, hops from one table to another in the pie shot. 

I first saw Vic Strano on the P&W coming to school one morning. I was a freshman, in school only a few weeks, but I immediately discerned that he was an unusual person. 

Because, you see, Victor was in the Engineering School at that time, and while all the other engineers discussed last night’s homework problems or buried their heads in a textbook, Victor talked sports. Victor talked sports from 69th street to Villanova. 

And Vic is number one – Yes, Victor is unusual, but a person who is number one in any field is necessarily unusual. The number one basketball fan at Villanova. 

Vic has been at Villanova for five years. (He lost time when he transferred from the Engineering to the Arts School). During that time, he has seen every Villanova basketball game played at the Palestra or in the Field House. He has traveled often, witnessing many games in New York. (This year he’s journeyed to Princeton and New York). 

He follows the summer leagues in which Villanova participates, he watches practices, he reads every paper or magazine that mentions Villanova. But more than all of this, Vic talks Villanova basketball. 

He readily admits, “I could talk basketball all day. I’ve taken dates to games, and talked of nothing of basketball going to, during, and coming from the game”.

As you may imagine, Mr. Strano has by now become thoroughly versed in the game. He doesn’t keep statistics, but he knows many of the finer points of basketball. 

Victor rates Jim Huggard as the finest player he’s seen at Villanova (while he’s been in school here) because “he has more confidence in himself than any other player I’ve ever seen.” 

When asked about spirit, the most spirited of them all gives a succinct, articulate answer that goes to the heart of the matter: “The spirit at Villanova has always been in proportion to the way we played. This year the spirit’s great for two reasons: the football season was so bad, and the team’s winning.” 

Vic violently condemns the “Manhattan Incident”saying, “The only people that get hurt are the good fans. Whenever I see anything like that, I exit in a hurry. I don’t dig that jazz.” 

Victor doesn’t limit himself to just basketball. He is also a great football fan. He has seen every home game and has gone to Boston twice and West Point twice. 

As a matter of fact, football may be a big reason Victor came to Villanova – not to play, but to watch his favorite, Jim Grazione. Like Grazione, Victor graduated from Southeast Catholic High (now Bishop Newman) in Philadelphia, then came to the Main Line. 

But old b-ball is really Victor’s meat. He loves the game and the Villanova team. This is probably the reason he disagreed with much that this writer said about spirit of the fans is very important. 

If all fans had the same spirit as Victor’s, I would agree. But few can match him for undying loyalty to and love of Villanova. When the Palestra is burned, I hope Victor escapes.